-by Dylan DiBona
While I was sweeping this morning, I decided to listen to the soundtrack of the cult classic DS game The World Ends With You (luckily it really holds up). This reminded me of a post I wrote about video game sequels we’ve waited too long for. Then I started thinking about the opposite; The World Ends With You will always be remembered as an amazing game. I loved Kingdom Hearts 2 more than any game as a child, but when I think about how it’s just one small piece of a long and stupidly convoluted timeline, my feelings are slightly diminished. Sometimes a company will give us a sequel and yet not really give us want we want, or in Square Enix’s case they’ll give us a hundred spin-offs and no sequel.
There’s really only two points I can make against sequels because let’s be frank, who doesn’t want a sequel to their favorite games?
Preserving a Reputation
This links back to what I said about The World Ends With You; it will always be fondly remembered? So why take a gamble on something that might change peoples perception of the game? What if Jak and Daxter never received a sequel? It would be remembered only as a great PS2 platformer, but because of it’s two very different predecessors, it’s now the black sheep of the series. This isn’t to say that Jak 2 & 3 are bad at all, but they certainly changed the spotlight that shone on Jak 1
Sometimes a sequel is just so completely unlike it’s predecessor that it makes people upset and confused a la Chrono Cross, Zelda II and Castlevania II.
It’s not just about preserving the reputation of a game, but sometimes even a company. I can wholeheartedly understand if a company honestly admitted to be afraid of releasing a sequel to an incredibly acclaimed game.
Sometimes to keep a series fresh a company will introduce mechanics that older fans hate. I love the 3DS Fire Emblem entries for their tactical gameplay and optional conversations, but plenty of people hate them for being “waifu simulators”. It’s a classic case of “you can’t please everyone”.
Over-saturating the Market
For twelve years now we’ve gotten a Call of Duty game every year. Now I won’t hate on the series because obviously they’re successful games for a reason, but would it kill them to take some time to make a better game? The biggest complaints I hear from people who left the series are “they’re always the same” or “they’re out of ideas”. By flooding the market with too many war FPS’, you’re draining consumers of all enthusiasm while lowering outsiders perception of the medium. There’s no reason to argue when somebody says “there’s too many war games”, because it’s true.
Back in 2014 and 2015 I was excited that game developer Scott Cawthon kept pumping out Five Nights at Freddy’s sequels at intense speed (two games every year until 2017). However, I wonder now if the series could’ve benefited from some more time on the drawing board. Can you blame Scott or Activision? There’s so much money to be made in the video game market. It’d be nice to see more developers like Atlus or Naughty Dog who don’t release a game until it has their stamp of quality.
So for a company that values quality, are video game sequels worth it? Absolutely. New IPs start off as little seedlings and after finding out if there’s an audience for said seedling, enthusiasm from the developers can help it grow into an enormous success. I like the concept of one-hit wonder video games like The World Ends With You or Undertale, I’d like to see more of that. At the end of the day I’m human and the temptation of a sequel is too much, I just think companies should try and make them as satisfying as possible.
So what do you guys think? Are some games better off as stand-alone titles? What are some of your favorite examples? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply!